Susan Bourdet

Susan Bourdet: Inspiration From the Garden in Watercolor

Video Length: 1 Hour 52 Minutes
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Learn from nature painter and print artist Susan Bourdet to create a painting from resources you have at home.

You'll see how to select and combine photographs, use masking fluid successfully, render luminous wet-into-wet backgrounds, layer brush work to create convincing fur texture, and use dry brush and salt texturing to portray the corroding metal of an old watering can. You will learn to systematically tackle complicated natural settings for charming results.

In this workshop, Bourdet helps you find inspiration by guiding you through her watercolor process, from the first wash to the final adjustment. After sharing her palette, brushes, and material, Susan gives you a hands-on experience with the techniques you'll need to complete a backyard masterpiece.

She leads you through preliminary exercises on salting, highlighting with gouache, and creating realistic fur then makes sure you apply your new skills later in the workshop. Susan boosts your skill and confidence in everything from basic brush strokes to pulling out delicate flower petals.

As she paints, Susan uses extensive masking to create layers of color while keeping crisp edges. She reveals techniques for mixing a colorful background wash that will create a strong complement to your subject. With this in place, she demonstrates the brush strokes that give her leaves and flowers rich detail and her methods for adding gorgeous layers of weather-worn texture to the watering can.

Susan then brings her tabby cat to life. She explains how to create textured fur, expressive eyes, and a blend of colors in her subject's coat that create volume yet retain softness. Finally, Susan teaches you how to highlight a watercolor composition using designer's gouache. Your practice exercises will provide vital support as Susan adds guard hairs, textured plants, and leaf veins with a blend of gouache and traditional pigments.

By the time she signs her name to the canvas, you'll have a complete set of watercolor and nature painting skills. Join Susan Bourdet in her backyard and studio for Inspiration from the Garden in Watercolor.


BONUS CLIP: Painting Fur

In this clip from her video workshop, Inspiration from the Garden in Watercolor, wildlife artist Susan Bourdet shows you how to paint realistic fur. You learn to use negative painting to create a base texture then add delicate guard hairs with gouache. Susan paints a cat later in the workshop, but you can adapt this technique to paint fur on any animal.


About Susan Bourdet
Susan Bourdet grew up in western Montana, learning early to love nature. Her luminous watercolors combine realistically detailed birds and animals with soft, impressionistic backgrounds, a technique that has evolved through her twenty years of painting. She discovered watercolor at age twelve, being captivated by a local artist's demonstration. She majored in art and biology, her two great loves, while at Montana State University. After graduation, she struggled to find a way to combine her two interests, working as an artist for a ceramics company and later as a pharmacy technician. For years, she taught watercolor at a local community college in Oregon, where she moved in 1974.Susan's career as a professional artist didn't really begin until 1980, when she was raising her two children and needed to work at home. Trying to find her place in the art gallery scene, she joined a support group of nature artists and began to show her work in local galleries. In 1989, her paintings were discovered in a Portland gallery by Wild Wings. She now has over sixty limited editions and her work is featured in a yearly songbirds calendar published by Bookmark. She is the author of Painting the Allure of Nature, published by Northlight Books and is working on a second book for that company. Her newest instructional venture is a video entitled Bold and Beautiful, Backyard Wildlife in Watercolor, produced by Creative Catalyst. Her paintings have been featured in shows and exhibitions all over the country, including the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's Birds in Art and the Society of Animal Artists' Art and the Animal.